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Man ‘dressed as minstrel to mock black colleague at Christmas party’ | UK News

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A man dressed up as a black and white minstrel and sang in a black colleague’s face to mock her during a work Christmas party, a court has heard.

Brian Davies, 62, allegedly caused the woman “alarm, distress and offence” after blacking up his face and performing at a Cardiff restaurant in December.

Catering manager Loretta Dayley was “singled out” when Davies directed the “racist” black and white minstrel song Mammy at her, Cardiff Magistrates’ Court heard.

Prosecutor Robert Reid said Davies had depicted a character from the Black and White Minstrel Show, which was shown on British television in the 1960s and 1970s.

He told the court: “The show was part of mainstream culture and entertainment. But we have moved on and social attitudes have changed.”

Davies had insisted Miss Dayley attend the event for employees of the Priory Group on 19 December, telling her he had bought her a “present” after she had initially showed “reluctance” to go, Mr Reid said.

“The persistence he displayed on her attending shows that he was intent on focusing this particular prank on her,” the prosecutor added.

“At the Christmas outing he retired briefly before returning, dressed as a black and white minstrel from a television show, and he sang a number of lines from that show, paying attention to Miss Dayley.”

Footage of the incident at the Coopers Carvery in Cardiff was played in court, showing Davies with his face blackened and wearing a boater hat, a white shirt, and swinging around a cane while singing.

Miss Dayley is initially seen laughing along with her colleagues but Mr Reid said the incident left her “distressed”, saying she had been off work for “some time” and was receiving medication.

She broke down in tears while telling the court via video link how she felt “humiliated” during the stunt.

Miss Dayley said: “Because everyone was laughing I started laughing too. But I was really embarrassed.

“Everyone was roaring with laughter and I just wanted the ground to swallow me up.”

Brian Davies denies charges of causing racially aggravated harassment, alarm or distress
Image:
Davies depicted a character from the Black and White Minstrel Show, the court heard

Miss Dayley said colleagues were taking photographs and video clips of Davies and some even posed for selfies with him.

She added that she recognised the song as Mammy, saying she knew it “was deemed a racist song”.

“This is a direct racist attack on me,” she said.

Davies was interviewed by police after Miss Dayley made a complaint, the court heard.

He told officers he had no intention of causing her any distress and denied his behaviour was abusive.

Davies, who worked in maintenance at the Priory Group, said he considered Miss Dayley a “real dear friend” and he was “devastated” to learn she was offended.

Asked if he now thought he was wrong to do the performance, he replied: “Maybe looking at it now but at the time I thought I was just dressing up as a black and white minstrel.”

Davies, from Caernarvon Garden, Barry, Vale of Glamorgan, denies using threatening or abusive words or behaviour or disorderly behaviour, as well as causing racially aggravated harassment, alarm or distress.

The trial continues.

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